UK anime releases from Funimation/Anime Limited unavailable for purchase on Amazon Europe

Monokuma

Completely Average High School Student
I don't know how to contact the Funimation UK retail (not digital) support department so if anyone has an email it would really help me.
But I have contacted both Anime-On-Line and Amazon UK and today I got the following answers.

Anime-On-Line replied and I quote:
"We are aware of the European selling issue with some of the newer titles on Amazon which we are currently working through."

Amazon replied among others that the issue is because and I quote:
"The item(Anime Blu-Ray) are not supported for UK to GR export due to missing country of origin information. This is an intentional blocker on selection with unclear origins."

I don't know why Anime-On-Lines Blu-Rays have a missing country of origin and how that could be fixed though.

The Amazon message continues with and I quote:
"To help you out in this issue, I've once again forwarded it to the relevant team and informed them to remove the sales restrictions as soon as possible. Once the restriction has been removed, you can be able to place the items without any issues."

They have told me similar things a couple of times before and unfortunately nothing seems to change.
 

ussjtrunks

School Idol
Btw if you want to contact Anime Limited I suppose you could contact Andrew here I don’t think we have a funimation rep here currently
 

Scavenger

Adventurer
Unfortunately this is not true (at least where I live). "Duties" in your sentence are used as a legal term. So they charge you legally a fee which they name import taxes, import tariffs, import duties, import handling fees etc. which is different from "duties". For example here under €150 you pay a fee that translates to English as import fee, then over €150 you pay import fees plus import duties, then above another threshold you pay import fees, import duties plus import tariffs.
The whole point of IOSS is to simplify the VAT payment/collection and declaration process. The buyer is not supposed to be confronted with additional fees for shipments that fall under the IOSS scheme because the seller is responsible for VAT collection and declaration. See: IOSS

But yeah, things can go wrong sometimes and some customs/postal services are still struggling with the implementation. There were issues with the first IOSS shipments to the Netherlands from Base.com, but it has been fixed.

Anyway, I'll leave it at that. Don't want to derail the thread.
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
I don't know why Anime-On-Lines Blu-Rays have a missing country of origin and how that could be fixed though.

Amazon didn't previously collect Country of Origin data for products but made it mandatory last year in line with new digital customs data requirements, so it's possible that the companies need to update their feed spreadsheets (or however they do it) when submitting/refreshing their Amazon data to complete this field. It's very easy to fix if they know what's wrong so you're already 50% there, now you just need to get AL/Funi or the companies they use to populate Amazon with their listings to add that extra tag. Their product listings should prompt them to add it when they're next edited but for content that's already there or being added with feeds it's likely that the alert is never seen.

For what it's worth we have a similar problem in the UK buying certain products from Amazon USA sometimes now, so I'm very interested in a fix too!

(The IOSS discussion.)

I don't consider this especially off-topic for the thread because it's a legitimate workaround while the Amazon products can't be purchased by folks in Europe. Companies spend a lot of money to register for and report to IOSS in Europe and the last thing they want is for the recipient to have to pay extra fees as well - it makes the entire process pointless when they could save themselves the bother and decline to register for IOSS! Amazon use IOSS too when shipping internationally, unless it's via a courier service, and the experience for the recipient is supposed to be identical between post/IOSS and courier/prepaid duties so long as the shipment qualifies (i.e. it's under the €150 limit). If the local postal service is charging an import fee when there's a valid IOSS number printed on the customs declaration, they never had to clear anything themselves whatsoever and are openly exploiting their users.

R
 

mikezilla2

Great Teacher
A VPN doesn't change your delivery address. We are talking about physical products. When you login to an Amazon account with a delivery address inside Europe Amazon doesn't even allow you to put the items in your wish list,


Unfortunately this is not true (at least where I live). "Duties" in your sentence are used as a legal term. So they charge you legally a fee which they name import taxes, import tariffs, import duties, import handling fees etc. which is different from "duties". For example here under €150 you pay a fee that translates to English as import fee, then over €150 you pay import fees plus import duties, then above another threshold you pay import fees, import duties plus import tariffs.

I've been fighting the system and dealing with nonsense like that for the last four months. That's why I now want to avoid customs at all costs and Amazon UK is my only solution.

im nether US nor UK or EU ... and some times even with a UK address products werent showing ...

im looking in to a UK parcel Forwarder For ordering Stuff but So Far the 52 pound solution For one Blu ray to my Door via DHL is Far from adequate....
 

Monokuma

Completely Average High School Student
Again, the following are from my experience with literally tens of packages from the UK and my consultations with various government and independent local agencies here in Greece.

IOSS is a process that only changes the recipient of the VAT in an online transaction. VAT is collected by the seller, then paid to the seller's government and then they forward it to the recipients government. That is all it does. It handles VAT and makes sure the correct VAT is paid to the correct country. Nothing else. It has nothing to do with customs, the clearing process and the entering of the EU.

Some technical details. I won't mention laws which are different in any country.
In order for this IOSS process to work the package between UK and a European country goes to a third EU country (in my case it was either France, Holland or Sweden) where the VAT is processed and then it is forwarded to the destination country. In the middle country the package gets two stickers. The first one has the details of the intermediary country and declares clearly that it entered the country for IOSS purposes. The IOSS logo is clear on the sticker.

The second one is the small yellow one that says "Goods not fulfilling the conditions laid down in Articles 28 and 29 of the Treaty on functioning of the European Union." That sticker means that since the package entered the European Union without clearing customs for the purpose of IOSS VAT process it hasn't cleared customs for entering the European Union and therefore the destination country should pass it through customs.

So when the package finally reaches the destination country it passes through customs. The customs see the two stickers and do two things: 1. Although the package literally came from inside the EU since it has the yellow sticker they treat it as if it came from outside EU and 2. Since the other sticker mentions IOSS they don't charge VAT, but the customs clearance process carries a lot of other fess which are still applicable. Here the customs officials have four different boxes to tick and VAT is only one of them.

So you see the IOSS process literally puts a sticker on the package that says to the destination country to ignore the fact that it entered EU already for IOSS purposes and pass it through customs and with only difference that VAT is already being paid.

If there is a way I could post some photos of my packages and stickers and reports and stuff I think I could make my point clearer. I am trying to fight several issues regarding imports legally and not going anywhere so I am keeping all the original packages and paperwork and receipts and reports etc and I don't mind posting them.

As for Amazon UK, the things I can buy are always sent via courier and they don't use IOSS. I believe the service they use is called DDP (Delivery Duty Paid). In DDP when the package goes to the intermediary country it also clears customs and doesn't get the yellow sticker, so when it finally reaches its destination the senders address is the intermediary country inside the EU and therefore it doesn't go through customs at all. It counts as an inside-the-EU transaction.
 

Monokuma

Completely Average High School Student
im nether US nor UK or EU ... and some times even with a UK address products werent showing ...

im looking in to a UK parcel Forwarder For ordering Stuff but So Far the 52 pound solution For one Blu ray to my Door via DHL is Far from adequate....
I have also looked into forwarding services from the UK and I contacted at least 15 companies asking for information and my advise is to stay away unless you are a business dealing monthly and in bulk. And not only for their enormous shipping costs that start from the first item like you already mentioned.

Not a single one of them uses Delivery Duties Paid (DDP) but they all use couriers which means that your package will have to pass customs in the destination country. And as if that wasn't enough the couriers as private companies have the right to charge you as much as they want for the clearance process service they provide to you once it arrives, plus storage fees for some reason. And that clearance fee is usually a flat fee which means that you may have to pay a 100euro (for up to 1000 euro cost of products) even for a 25 euro Blu-Ray and that is of course on top of all the legal import duties and VAT and taxes your government demands.

They also charge you for a consolidation fee. If you buy for example 5 Blu-Ray from Rarewaves and they send them to the forwarding company in five different packages you will either have to pay their enormous shipping and import clearing costs 5 times or pay a consolidation fee (per package) to put them all in one bigger package.
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
IOSS is a process that only changes the recipient of the VAT in an online transaction. VAT is collected by the seller, then paid to the seller's government and then they forward it to the recipients government. That is all it does. It handles VAT and makes sure the correct VAT is paid to the correct country. Nothing else. It has nothing to do with customs, the clearing process and the entering of the EU.

I fear that your local postal service is not applying the IOSS rules correctly. For UK businesses, registered for IOSS is voluntary and extremely expensive (in terms of ongoing reporting) with literally no benefit to the UK company, so the only reason to do it at all is to help their customers within the EU. There is a separate process for digital services with a similar name which is not voluntary, making things confusing, but for the purpose of shipping goods the IOSS is very much related to customs, the clearing process and the entering of the EU. Its name even stands for Import One Stop Shop.

For the purpose of this post I will assume the parcel in question is always under €150.

From Europa (the official website of the European Commission):

The IOSS facilitates the collection, declaration and payment of VAT for sellers that are making distance sales of imported goods to buyers in the EU. The IOSS also makes the process easier for the buyer, who is only charged at the time of purchase, and therefore does not face any surprise fees when the goods are delivered. If the seller is not registered in the IOSS, the buyer has to pay the VAT and usually a customs clearance fee charged by the transporter.

If a UK business which is not registered for IOSS ships a parcel to you in Greece, you pay the UK business no VAT (UK or Greek) and then when the parcel arrives in Greece, the local postal service charges you the 24% Greek VAT and some clearance fees of their choosing. This is the old way of doing things and free for the UK business, so companies would all do this if there was no benefit to using the IOSS. It honestly sounds as though this is what is happening to you.

If a UK business which has registered for IOSS across Europe ships a parcel to you in Greece, however, the UK company has covered those extra operational costs for you and in return, as stated by the European Commission in my quote above, you don't face any surprise fees when the goods are delivered. If IOSS only covered the 24% VAT itself without removing the customs fees there would be absolutely no reason for any UK business to use it. Customs don't have to do any work when a parcel is shipped via IOSS because digital customs data will be attached with the sender's IOSS number, allowing them to match the sender's VAT obligations with the parcel. All they have to do is scan a barcode, which they have to do anyway.

(Intra-EU shipments go through a slightly different process - the OSS, because IOSS is specifically only for imports from outside the EU - which allows them to skip the customs process entirely. But with UK-EU shipments it shouldn't matter if the parcel is routed through France or Netherlands etc.; the sticker warns Greek customs that the parcel is from outside the EU but the IOSS rules then mean that Greek customs should scan the barcode, pick up the IOSS number and digital customs data and process it as an import under IOSS, i.e. no further VAT/fees to pay.)

The only reason I can think that your IOSS shipments are coming in via customs and being charged is that the sender's IOSS number and/or digital customs data is incorrect in some way, because the process you describe is definitely not how the IOSS is supposed to work. It sounds as though something has gone wrong and you are due some refunds, whether from customs or the sender in question. IOSS should always mean a smooth, surcharge-free transaction for the recipient. It's literally the entire reason it exists.

R
 

ussjtrunks

School Idol
Anything that ships with IOSS to Ireland arrives with no extra charges, I’ve ordered a lot from zavvi recently too. I think some countries still aren’t doing it properly
 

ussjtrunks

School Idol
Wonder if Al or Mvm will implement IOSS for shipping directly it’d save a lot of hassle where other store just don’t ship to Ireland / EU.
 

Monokuma

Completely Average High School Student
Btw if you want to contact Anime Limited I suppose you could contact Andrew here I don’t think we have a funimation rep here currently
Unfortunately I can't get a reply from Anime Limited through their contact form.
How exactly can I contact Andrew?
Do you happen to have their email address?
 

Monokuma

Completely Average High School Student
Unfortunately I can't get a response from Mr. Andrew and I haven't got any replies to my emails to Anime Ltd either.

As for my contact with Amazon UK it has reached a point where they don't even read my emails and just respond with pre-constructed messages detailing completely irrelevant subjects like how to change my address. I've sent them pages and pages detailing the problem and giving them examples with links and ASIN numbers for the products and they keep replying as if they never read anything.

I mean it is such a simple thing to fix, they just need to put "United Kingdom" in the country of origin field in every listing by Anime Ltd and Funimation. That's it. But they don't do it even if I have sent them about 15 messages by now.

Here's an example of the weirdness of the problem:

The Promised Neverland (Standard Edition) [Blu-ray] (Studio: Anime Ltd / ASIN: B09PW7LFRV) is unavailable for purchase to me BUT The Promised Neverland - Collector's Edition [Blu-ray] (Studio: Anime Ltd / ASIN: B08KWVB18Q) from the same company IS available because somehow, someone put a "Country of origin: Germany" in the listing. So you can see that Amazon UK can sell me the collector's edition of the same Blu-Ray but not the standard Blu-Ray.

Here's another example:

The One Punch Man Season 2 (Episodes 1-12 + 6 OVAs) [Blu-ray] (Studio: Funimation / ASIN: B0974M7KWB) is NOT available for purchase to me, BUT the One Punch Man Season 2 (Episodes 1-12) [DVD] (Studio: Funimation / ASIN: B0974KRDBR) is available for purchase because the listing has a "Country of origin: United Kingdom". So you see Amazon UK can sell me the DVD version, from same company, but not the Blu-Ray version.

I don't know what to do anymore. I've been at it for about 3 months now and I am not getting anywhere.
Any ideas how to proceed?
 
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Monokuma

Completely Average High School Student
Still no luck. I still can't buy 99% of all Blu-Ray anime releases from Amazon UK.

I managed to get a reply from Anime Ltd / All The Anime but it seems they can't do anything about it although they are aware of the issue. Here's the reply I got:

"Thanks for getting in touch. We're certainly aware of this issue with purchasing our releases from EU countries via Amazon UK, but unfortunately despite being in constant contact with Amazon themselves over the past year there's been no real movement in fixing the issue in question, as it appears to be a fundamental issue with their own web site and back-end systems which causes all manner of problems and incorrectly handles items in such a way that they can't be ordered/shipped to EU countries.

We're continuing to discuss this with Amazon in an attempt to resolve these issues, but sadly as things currently stand it seems unlikely that there will be any speedy resolution to this issue."

I keep sending 2-3 emails to Amazon every single week hoping someone somehow will do something about it. But they just don't want to fix it and I don't understand the why. Their latest response today was the following:

"I've looked into the issue you've reported, and unfortunately we'll be unable to amend the shipping restrictions on the website. I apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. Please check the website from time to time, to see if items become available for delivery to your address. Your feedback is helping us build Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company."

I really don't understand what is happening here. The sale of Blu-Ray discs is perfectly legal both in UK and the EU. Both the seller company and the production company seem to want to solve the problem, their customers are constantly harassing them about it and yet no one does anything when the solution has already been identified and the problem is really easy to fix.

It's a simply database query where they update the value of the field "Country of Origin" from null to "United Kingdom" for all items where the "Studio" is Anime Ltd or Funimation. It literally is a half minute job.
 

Monokuma

Completely Average High School Student
I fear that your local postal service is not applying the IOSS rules correctly. For UK businesses, registered for IOSS is voluntary and extremely expensive (in terms of ongoing reporting) with literally no benefit to the UK company, so the only reason to do it at all is to help their customers within the EU. There is a separate process for digital services with a similar name which is not voluntary, making things confusing, but for the purpose of shipping goods the IOSS is very much related to customs, the clearing process and the entering of the EU. Its name even stands for Import One Stop Shop.

For the purpose of this post I will assume the parcel in question is always under €150.

From Europa (the official website of the European Commission):



If a UK business which is not registered for IOSS ships a parcel to you in Greece, you pay the UK business no VAT (UK or Greek) and then when the parcel arrives in Greece, the local postal service charges you the 24% Greek VAT and some clearance fees of their choosing. This is the old way of doing things and free for the UK business, so companies would all do this if there was no benefit to using the IOSS. It honestly sounds as though this is what is happening to you.

If a UK business which has registered for IOSS across Europe ships a parcel to you in Greece, however, the UK company has covered those extra operational costs for you and in return, as stated by the European Commission in my quote above, you don't face any surprise fees when the goods are delivered. If IOSS only covered the 24% VAT itself without removing the customs fees there would be absolutely no reason for any UK business to use it. Customs don't have to do any work when a parcel is shipped via IOSS because digital customs data will be attached with the sender's IOSS number, allowing them to match the sender's VAT obligations with the parcel. All they have to do is scan a barcode, which they have to do anyway.

(Intra-EU shipments go through a slightly different process - the OSS, because IOSS is specifically only for imports from outside the EU - which allows them to skip the customs process entirely. But with UK-EU shipments it shouldn't matter if the parcel is routed through France or Netherlands etc.; the sticker warns Greek customs that the parcel is from outside the EU but the IOSS rules then mean that Greek customs should scan the barcode, pick up the IOSS number and digital customs data and process it as an import under IOSS, i.e. no further VAT/fees to pay.)

The only reason I can think that your IOSS shipments are coming in via customs and being charged is that the sender's IOSS number and/or digital customs data is incorrect in some way, because the process you describe is definitely not how the IOSS is supposed to work. It sounds as though something has gone wrong and you are due some refunds, whether from customs or the sender in question. IOSS should always mean a smooth, surcharge-free transaction for the recipient. It's literally the entire reason it exists.

R

As a follow-up to our conversation I decided to place a small order on Base.com to check their delivery system.
I bought Cowboy Bebop - The Movie on Blu-Ray for £6.49

The package arrived today. Thankfully it took only 45 days but I did have to pay import taxes although it did came with the IOSS service. I am posting photos of the package back and front as proof.

As you can see I had to pay 2.50 euro for a £6.49 Blu-Ray.

Honestly, I don't care who gets it wrong and why. The fact remains that every single package I bought with IOSS passed through customs. And that means I can't place massive orders through Base.com because I will have to pay massive taxes too. So my only solution still seems to be Amazon UK and that's why I am fighting so hard to fix this issue.
 

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ID5

Completely Average High School Student
@Monokuma Is that 2,50 euro import tax? Or a service fee from the local delivery company, because the item has 0,00 euro on that list?
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
I understand and agree that the underlying issue does need fixing; it isn't fair for customers when arbitrary export blocks prevent us having as much choice (we have the same issue with some Amazon USA listings no longer shipping to the UK for no reason as well).

The Base label clearly shows the IOSS mark so Royal Mail validated and transmitted the IOSS number electronically, so as far as I can tell the charge is some ELTA-specific extra fee. I am not an expert on your country's import rules but it looks as though there might be special restrictions on importing anything from outside the EU nowadays, separate to the tax/duty/IOSS issue entirely and uniquely implemented by Greek Customs? If so, that sucks and I can see why getting things into the EU first would be desirable.

R
 

Monokuma

Completely Average High School Student
@Monokuma Is that 2,50 euro import tax? Or a service fee from the local delivery company, because the item has 0,00 euro on that list?
This fee literally translates to "ELTA fee for customs clearance" but I'm not sure if it is considered import tax or something else.

I am sorry if it wasn't obvious but this came with our national post (The Greek National Post is called ELTA). There isn't any private company involved.

As you correctly saw they didn't charge me VAT but they did charge me an import fee/tax.
 
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